Americans Overwhelmingly Agree that Fiscal Health Leads to Economic Strength


May 12, 2014
Contact: Sarah Stipicevic, Press Secretary
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New Poll Shows Voters Agree that Addressing Long-term Debt Boosts Economic Growth, Mobility, Opportunity, Business and Consumer Confidence

91% of Voters Believe a Stable Fiscal Foundation will Lead to Economic Growth, and 8 in 10 Say Addressing Long-term Debt will Make Economic Mobility and Opportunity More Attainable for Everyday Americans

This Week: The Peterson Foundation’s Annual Fiscal Summit Will Address the Connection between a Strong Fiscal Foundation and a Prosperous Economy

Fiscal Health Poll

Click here for the polling memo
Click here for full topline poll results
Click here for the infographic

NEW YORK — Voters overwhelmingly connect the nation’s fiscal health with its economic strength, and are calling for policymakers to address our long-term fiscal challenges. A new poll released today by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation finds that 91 percent of Americans agree that a stable fiscal foundation will help the economy grow, and wide majorities believe putting our long-term debt on a sustainable path will enhance mobility, opportunity, business and consumer confidence, and more.

At a time when the nation is focused on the economy and creating jobs, fully eight in ten (80%) say economic mobility and opportunity are likely to be more attainable for everyday Americans if the United States reduces the debt. Moreover, nearly nine in ten (88%) believe reducing the debt would increase consumer confidence, and 70 percent of voters believe it would increase companies’ confidence in the economy, leading to more investment and hiring.

"Americans understand that a strong fiscal outlook is an essential foundation for a growing, thriving economy," said Michael A. Peterson, President and COO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "Voters know that fiscal health and economic strength are inextricably linked, and they’re calling on their leaders to address our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges in order to secure America’s economic future."

This week, at the Peterson Foundation’s fifth annual Fiscal Summit: Our Economic Future, leading experts and policymakers will explore the relationship between a solid fiscal foundation and economic prosperity. Speakers and panelists will discuss how fiscal decisions impact investment, jobs, wages, mobility, innovation, confidence, and overall economic growth.

Below are key findings from the poll:

Economic Growth:

  • Voters overwhelmingly agree (91%) that a stable fiscal foundation will help the economy grow; 63 percent agree strongly.
  • 85 percent agree that debt reduction will benefit the national economy, including broad majorities of Democrats (75%), Independents (90%), and Republicans (90%).
  • Nearly nine in ten (87%) voters believe that the national debt, at its current level, is stifling the economy.

Mobility and Opportunity:

  • Fully eight in ten voters (80%) say economic mobility and opportunity are likely to be more attainable for everyday Americans if the United States reduces the debt, including 44% who say it is very likely.
  • 83 percent agree that there will be more opportunities for everyday Americans to be successful in an economy less burdened by the national debt. Americans are united in their beliefs across socioeconomic lines, as the working/lower middle class (82%), the middle class (86%), and the upper middle class/affluent (76%) all overwhelmingly agree.
  • Voters widely agree that younger Americans (82%), the middle class (82%), lower-income Americans (70%), and the unemployed (73%) will benefit from addressing our long-term fiscal challenges.

Business and Consumer Confidence:

  • 70 percent of voters believe reducing the debt would increase companies’ confidence in the economy, leading to more investment and hiring of new workers.
  • Americans identify consumer confidence as a key connection between debt reduction and a healthier economy, with 88 percent saying consumers will likely have more confidence in the economy if the United States reduces its national debt.

Competitiveness and Investments in Our Future:

  • 84 percent believe that the United States is likely to be more competitive in a global economy if it reduces the national debt.
  • Three-quarters of Americans (75%) believe that the nation will have less money to spend on education, research and infrastructure as a result of its debt burden.

Economic Stability:

  • 83 percent of voters believe that the current level of national debt makes our economy less stable.
  • 86 percent of Americans believe the United States is likely to be better prepared for the next economic or financial crisis if the debt is reduced.
  • 86 percent of voters expect that the stability brought on by sound fiscal policy will be felt directly by American families, with broad majorities believing that a more stable fiscal foundation will lead to a more stable and secure middle class.

The fifth annual Fiscal Summit: Our Economic Future will take place on May 14, 2014, at 9:00AM at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation commissioned the poll by the Global Strategy Group and North Star Opinion Research to conduct a nationwide survey of 1,004 registered voters between April 21 and April 24, 2014. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The margin of error on sub-samples is greater. The poll examined voters’ opinions on the relationship of our fiscal outlook to various economic factors and outcomes.

About the Peter G. Peterson Foundation
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established by Pete Peterson — businessman, philanthropist, and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The Foundation is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key long-term fiscal challenges threatening America's future and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. To learn more, please visit



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